Trekkie in Training: So What on Enterprise Do I Need to Watch?

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The Confession:

I’ve never seen Star Trek. Ever. Not a single episode, movie, book, musical adaptation, nothing. But last week, the stars finally aligned. I was de-virgined to the world of the Starship Enterprise – and I liked it.

Besides, who am I to poo-poo the cosmos?

The Back Story:

1. Thursday afternoon: Peter referenced something about prospering and long living and that Spock gesture. He was amazed when I could do it with both hands. Last time I tried, my pinky finger jetted out awkwardly to one side. (Who knows what gang symbol I was actually producing.) Physically, I was ready but didn’t know it yet.

2. Thursday evening: I attend a literary event for the monster mash-ups of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women in Manhattan. The small theater space I’m sitting in is named for – who else? – Leonard Nimoy. I’m amazed not only by the coincidence, but by my ability to know who Leonard Nimoy actually is.

3. Friday night in the video store: My date reaches for J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek from last year and asks, “This okay? I could watch this again.” It seemed like fate, so I answered “sure” and settled in to watch, not knowing what to expect.

The Reaction:

What surprised me the most was how connected the story was with Earth and reality. What I tend to dislike most about some sci-fi plots are the chucking of Earth and humanity completely out of the window, however, I could relate with these people. Kirk is from Iowa. I was also happy to discover its emotional range. The death of Kirk Sr. was tearful, but the comedy was endearing, witty and actually funny. I even giggled out loud when I realized where “Beam me up, Scotty!” got its start.

The mission:

Now, I realize that my introduction to a storied franchise was a reboot, and I’ll except a strike or two there, but I’ve decided to jump all in. I’m going to dedicate my free time to Star Trek for the next month or so, learning as much as I can. I’m going to watch the series, the movies, read the books, talk to experts. I’ll even find an event.

But I need to do it quickly, and I need your help. So, what should I see? Give me specific episodes, films, books, clips, anything, and I’ll go after it, and document it every step of the way, captain’s log-style.